Google Forms in Math

By Raymond Steinmetz

I will revolutionize how homework grading and feedback works in my classroom using Google Forms

–Me (beginning of this school year)

This never happened.  My original idea was to use Google Forms or a similar product to provide a quick self-grading formative assessment that mirrored the homework problems the students did the night before.  The students would grade their homework on a key and then complete the Google Form.  Ideally, this would have provided me with some valuable instantaneous data about who really retained the concepts from the day before.  Ultimately, this was way too much to bite off and chew for my first year with blended learning.  Also, I now know that a product like GoFormative would be way more appropriate in this regard.

Though there are some instances where I really like to use Google Forms in my classroom, I’d first like to go over some drawbacks to using Forms for answering math questions:

  • If you want to include an image in your question, you have to save the image and upload the file into your question.  Therefore, I hardly ever use Forms to ask questions where I can’t easily type the question.
  • Multiple choice or multiple select are the easiest types of questions to ask that will ‘self grade.’  Short answer problems can be tricky for automatic grading, given the fact that anything slightly different than your exact answer will be graded as incorrect.  For example: The answer to the equation x + 3 = 6 is “x = 3”.  But in Forms, if a student puts just “3”, or “x=3”, or “x =3” – all of those would be graded as incorrect.
  • Taking an already created assessment and creating it all over again in Forms can be really mundane.
  • Viewing individual student responses can be time consuming, especially when other products have much easier to use interfaces.

OK, enough with the negative.  Here is what I like about Google Forms in Math with some real life examples:

  • I really like posing open ended theoretical math questions that require more than just a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer using Google Forms specifically.  This is because the responses are listed anonymously in a way that allows me to project and review them as a whole class.  For instance, here are the responses I received when I asked “What does it mean for a quantity to increase by 200%? Explain.”  As you can see, many of these answers are incorrect, but there is an excellent opportunity to review and discuss the responses without singling anyone out for being wrong.

Forms - 1

  • Multiple Choice and Multiple Response answers are formatted in a really cool way to review as a whole class:

Forms - 2

  • Even though short answer questions are hard to format to automatically grade, the aggregate of the answers are still presented in a great way for class discussion.  The example below is once again anonymous, and provides an excellent opportunity for students to discuss what mistakes were made in incorrect responses.

Forms - 3

Though using Google Forms in a math classroom has plenty of drawbacks, I’ve found that there is some really great added value when it comes to academic feedback on formative assessments.  I don’t think I’ll ever use it for anything that I am giving an actual grade on, but it gives me a great snapshot of student understanding instantaneously.

Mr. Steinmetz